One-on-One Interview with Anika Lehde, Co-Founder of Lion’s Share Industries

San Francisco’s first annual Vegan Fashion Show this past Saturday was it a great success! I want to personally thank all those who sponsored or participated in one way or another. Supporters from all over the country attended and I had the luxury of interviewing one of the designers: Anika Lehde, Co-Founder of Lion’s Share Industries. In addition to being a successful designer and business owner, she is an artist, a writer: Seattle Vegan Score, and a volunteer for numerous organizations in her community. Anika is an inspiration to all.

About Lion’s Share Industries
Lion’s Share Industries is a Seattle based company that commissions artists to design a shirt based on a theme that encompasses “Vegan” through words or pictures. The artists are given the freedom of design, ink, color pallet and material. Like a fine wine, there is limited productions of each piece never exceeding 200.  All of their models are vegan and the artists get to vote on where the proceeds of sales are donated.

***One of my favorite parts of this interview was her fashion advice for my blog…Enjoy!

Cyn: What inspired your line? Have you always designed cruelty-free pieces/products?

Anika: My partner, Kirby Johnson, and I were inspired by the amazing people who have chosen to follow their hearts towards a cruelty-free lifestyle, particularly artists. We wanted to find a way where vegan artists and illustrators could show off their work and fashion-forward vegans could get high-end designers t-shirts that matched their aesthetic AND their ethics. Just because someone chooses to not follow the crowd into cruelty, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in expressing themselves fashionably. Actually, fashion is modern and so is veganism – they are a great match. We design for everyone, every age, color, creed, economic life style, etc. Vegan people are business owners, bakers, painters, skaters, environmentalists, baristas, programmers, parents, teenagers, activities, models, etc. We aren’t one thing or one type. Diversity was our inspiration. Vegans are also really f’n cool.

Cyn: Why did you choose to participate in the event today? What message are you hoping to share?

Anika: I chose to participate because I want folks interested in vegan fashion to know about Lion’s Share designer t-shirts. I also wanted to support events that highlight designers doing more than just hemp bags. Designers like Lion’s Share, Mission Savvy, Reco Jeans, Vaute Couture, Pansy Maiden, Melie Bianco, and Cri de Coeur are working harder, smarter, and kinder than their standard fashion counterparts and deserve to be called out in their own fashion show. What they do is good for everyone.

Cyn: What is your take on Vegan Fashion today and the future of eco-friendly designs?
Anika: I love how right now vegan fashion is separated from the old standard leather/fur/wool crowd. It deserves its own stage. The designers deserve a special stage. That said, I do think in the next 10 years that most designers will abandon cruel and dead materials. Maybe in 50 years we’ll look back and say, “remember in the 1900 and early 2000 when people wore dead skin all the time, when they didn’t need to” and think we’ll think it was odd. We have so many renewable, sustainable, plant-based materials, recycled, and synthetic materials to choose from, there really is no excuse for hurting animals for fashion. It is kind of silly when you think about it.

Cyn: So I am curious, are you a Vegan?

Anika: Yes, I have been vegan since 1993. It is one of the greatest things that I am and I couldn’t be prouder. One of the Lion’s Share mottos is “Made with Pride, Not Prejudice” because we want to be open to everyone, no matter where they are on their own evolutionary path. You won’t find us policing people’s choices, but instead, inviting them to come along with us in being informed, enlightened, and compassionate – and cute as hell.

Cyn: What other green practices do you participate in everyday?

Anika: Being vegan is really the most incredibly green thing one can do. There is no comparison. Some of our shirts are 100% organic cotton – which is key to reducing the poising of our soil that is prolific with traditional cotton growth. Once you know how traditional cotton is grown, it is hard to go back. Some of our shirts are recycled materials, including “Float” which is part recycled beverage containers and part recycled cotton. Out of the landfill and into fashion, I say! Our packaging is 100% recycled paper and is 100% recyclable. As an individual, I am obsessed with low-packaging, and no

plastic bags.

Cyn: What other organizations are you a part of or support?

Anika: 15% of the profits of Lion’s Share go to an animal advocacy organization that the artists vote on. This series we’ll be donating to The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

We also finished a limited edition tote for Our Hen House 501c3, an amazing website that is a clearing house for ideas on how individuals can help animals.

Beyond what Lion’s Share does, Kirby and I support a variety of causes that are close to our hearts and hopefully will pave the way for a more educated, compassionate, and verdant world:

***And for your blog, here is my fashion tip:

Follow your heart.

I encourage you to check out their website, artists and designs. Their contact information is below.
Lion’s Share Industries is always looking for new artists and talent.
They said not to be shy…hook it up like a tow truck.

email us:
shout@lionsshareindustries.com
call us: 800-875-3752
mail us: 1425 Broadway, #483, Seattle, WA USA
follow us: http://www.twitter.com/lionsshareindus
post your pics and tag us: http://www.flickr.com/lionshare
tell us what you think: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Lions-Share-Industries/131352713545458

***All photos are property of Melissa De Mata www.melissademata.com

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